MarketAxess Reports Fourth Quarter 2019 Revenues of $129.8 Million, Operating Income of $60.9 Million and Diluted EPS of $1.32

11 Consecutive Years of Record Volume, Revenue and Earnings

Company Announces 18% Increase in Regular Quarterly Dividend to $0.60 per Share, up from $0.51

Fourth Quarter Financial Highlights*

  • Revenues of $129.8 million, up 15%
     
  • Operating income of $60.9 million, up 13%
     
  • Diluted EPS of $1.32, up 9% from $1.21
     
  • Open TradingTM volume of $136.0 billion, up 16%

*All comparisons versus fourth quarter 2018.

Full Year 2019 Financial Highlights*

  • Record revenues of $511.4 million, up 17%
     
  • Record operating income of $250.9 million, up 18%
     
  • Record diluted EPS of $5.40, up 18%
     
  • Record Open TradingTM volume of $542.8 billion, up 44%

*All comparisons versus full year 2018.

NEW YORK, Jan. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: MKTX), the operator of a leading electronic trading platform for fixed-income securities, and the provider of market data and post-trade services for the global fixed-income markets, today announced results for the quarter ended December 31, 2019.

“The fourth quarter results contributed to our 11th straight year of record revenues and earnings with 2019 revenue growth of 17%,” said Rick McVey, Chairman and CEO of MarketAxess. “We are encouraged by the breadth of growth we see in our business with record volumes, revenues and active institutional clients in all four of our core credit products. Investor and dealer demand for trading automation is fueling a new round of growth in electronic market share for fixed income trading. Open Trading is delivering valuable transaction cost savings to our clients, helping to extend our leadership position in global credit electronic trading with institutional clients. We are excited about many new opportunities emerging in new products and new trading protocols, including our entry into the Rates trading space with our acquisition of LiquidityEdge.” 

Fourth Quarter Results

Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2019 increased 15.4% to $129.8 million, compared to $112.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2018. Operating income was $60.9 million, compared to $54.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of 12.8%. Operating margin was 46.9%, compared to 48.0% for the fourth quarter of 2018. Net income totaled $50.3 million, or $1.32 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $45.8 million, or $1.21 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2018.

Commission revenue for the fourth quarter of 2019 increased 15.4% to $117.1 million, compared to $101.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2018. Variable transaction fees increased 19.3% to $91.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to variable transaction fees of $76.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2018. Variable transaction fees include approximately $2.5 million of U.S. Treasuries trading commissions generated by LiquidityEdge since the November 1, 2019 acquisition date. U.S. high-grade trading volume as a percentage of FINRA’s high-grade TRACE trading volume increased to an estimated 19.9% for the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to an estimated 19.3% for the fourth quarter of 2018.

All other revenue, which consists of information services, post-trade services and other revenue, increased to $12.7 million, compared to $11.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2018. The increase in all other revenue was principally due to higher information services revenue of $1.5 million.

Total expenses for the fourth quarter of 2019 increased 17.9% to $68.9 million, compared to $58.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2018. The increase in total expenses was largely due to higher employee compensation and benefit costs, mainly due to an increase in headcount, of $5.3 million, depreciation and amortization of $1.9 million, general and administrative costs of $1.6 million, clearing costs of $1.1 million and professional and consulting fees of $1.0 million. LiquidityEdge expenses, including amortization of acquired intangibles expense of $0.4 million and acquisition-related costs $0.5 million, totaled $3.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2019. Excluding LiquidityEdge related costs, total expenses for the quarter were up 12.3%.

The effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2019 was 18.9%, compared to 18.3% for the fourth quarter of 2018. The income tax provision for the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2018 reflected $3.6 million and $1.9 million, respectively, of excess tax benefits related to share-based compensation awards.

Full Year 2019 Results

Total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2019 increased 17.4% to a record $511.4 million, compared to $435.6 million for 2018. Operating income was a record $250.9 million, compared to $212.6 million for 2018, an increase of 18.0%. Operating margin was 49.1%, compared to 48.8% for 2018. Net income totaled $204.9 million, or $5.40 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $172.9 million, or $4.57 per share, for 2018. 

Commission revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 increased 18.7% to a record $463.9 million, compared to $390.8 million for 2018. Variable transaction fees increased 24.9% to $367.2 million compared to variable transaction fees of $293.9 million for 2018. U.S. high-grade trading volume as a percentage of FINRA’s high-grade TRACE trading volume increased to an estimated 19.0%, compared to an estimated 18.1% for 2018.

All other revenue increased 6.2% to $47.5 million in 2019, compared to $44.7 million for 2018. The increase in all other revenue was principally due to higher information services revenue of $2.5 million.

Total expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019 increased 16.8% to $260.5 million, compared to $223.0 million for 2018. The increase in total expenses was principally due to higher employee compensation and benefits costs, mainly due to an increase in headcount, of $22.0 million, general and administrative costs of $4.3 million, depreciation and amortization of $3.8 million, professional and consulting fees of $4.0 million and clearing costs of $3.6 million offset by a decrease in occupancy costs of $2.5 million. LiquidityEdge expenses, including amortization of acquired intangibles expense of $0.4 million and acquisition-related costs of $1.1 million, totaled $3.8 million during 2019. Excluding LiquidityEdge related costs, total expenses for the year were up 15.1%. 

The effective tax rate for 2019 was 20.4%, compared to 20.7% for 2018. The income tax provision for 2019 and 2018 reflected $10.6 million and $5.6 million, respectively, of excess tax benefits related to share-based compensation awards. 

Employee headcount was 527 as of December 31, 2019 compared to 454 as of December 31, 2018. The increase in headcount was due to the continued investment in the Company’s growth initiatives, including geographic expansion, trading automation, new trading protocols and the transition to self-clearing.

Dividend

The Company’s board of directors declared a cash dividend of $0.60 per share of common stock outstanding, to be paid on February 26, 2020 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on February 12, 2020. 

Share Repurchases

A total of 15,900 shares were repurchased in the fourth quarter of 2019 at a cost of $5.8 million.

Balance Sheet Data

As of December 31, 2019, total assets were $954.9 million and included $500.6 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments. Total stockholders’ equity as of December 31, 2019 was $770.1 million.

Guidance for 2020

For 2020, the Company is providing the following guidance:

  • Expenses are expected to be in the range of $297.0 million to $314.0 million and includes a full year of LiquidityEdge expenses estimated to range between $18.0 million to $22.0 million. LiquidityEdge expenses are expected to include amortization expense on acquired intangible assets of $2.8 million and variable clearing and technology expenses that will be approximately 50% of trading revenue. Excluding LiquidityEdge expenses, the midpoint in the guidance range would represent an approximate 11% year-over-year increase in expenses.
     
  • Capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $44.0 million to $49.0 million and includes an expected increase in capitalized software development and approximately $7.0 million of buildout costs for additional office space in London.
     
  • The Company’s overall effective tax rate is expected to be between 20.0% to 22.0% and includes the estimated impact of excess tax benefits on share-based compensation awards.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Other Items

To supplement the Company’s unaudited financial statements presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), the Company uses certain non-GAAP measures of financial performance, including earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) and free cash flow. The Company believes that these non-GAAP financial measures, when taken into consideration with the corresponding GAAP financial measures, are important in understanding the Company's operating results. See the attached schedule for a reconciliation of GAAP net income to EBITDA and GAAP cash flow from operating activities to free cash flow.

Webcast and Conference Call Information

Rick McVey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chris Concannon, President and Chief Operating Officer and Tony DeLise, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call to discuss the Company’s financial results and outlook on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. EST. To access the conference call, please dial 855-425-4206 (U.S.) or 484-756-4249 (international). The Company will also host a live audio Webcast of the conference call on the Investor Relations section of the Company's website at http://investor.marketaxess.com. A replay of the call will be made available by dialing 855-859-2056 (U.S.) or 404-537-3406 (international) and using the conference ID: 9129259 for one week after the announcement. The Webcast will also be archived on http://investor.marketaxess.com for 90 days following the announcement.

About MarketAxess

MarketAxess operates a leading, institutional electronic trading platform delivering expanded liquidity opportunities, improved execution quality and significant cost savings across global fixed-income markets. A global network of over 1,700 firms, including the world’s leading asset managers and institutional broker-dealers, leverages MarketAxess’ patented trading technology to efficiently trade bonds. MarketAxess’ award-winning Open Trading™ marketplace is regarded as the preferred all-to-all trading solution in the global credit markets, creating a unique liquidity pool for a broad range of credit market participants. Drawing on its deep data and analytical resources, MarketAxess provides automated trading solutions, market data products and a range of pre- and post-trade services.

MarketAxess is headquartered in New York and has offices in London, Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, São Paulo, Hong Kong and Singapore. For more information, please visit www.marketaxess.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including statements about the outlook and prospects for Company and industry growth, as well as statements about the Company’s future financial and operating performance. These and other statements that relate to future results and events are based on MarketAxess’ current expectations. The Company’s actual results in future periods may differ materially from those currently expected or desired because of a number of risks and uncertainties, including: global economic, political and market factors; the volatility of financial services markets generally; the level of trading volume transacted on the MarketAxess platform; the absolute level and direction of interest rates and the corresponding volatility in the corporate fixed-income market; the level and intensity of competition in the fixed-income electronic trading industry and the pricing pressures that may result; the variability of our growth rate; the rapidly evolving nature of the electronic financial services industry; our ability to introduce new fee plans and our clients’ response; our exposure to risks resulting from non-performance by counterparties to transactions executed between our clients in which we act as an intermediary in matched principal trades; our dependence on our broker-dealer clients; the loss of any of our significant institutional investor clients; our ability to develop new products and offerings and the market’s acceptance of those products; the effect of rapid market or technological changes on us and the users of our technology; our ability to successfully maintain the integrity of our trading platform and our response to system failures, capacity constraints and business interruptions; our vulnerability to cyber security risks; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights or technology and defend against intellectual property infringement or other claims; our ability to enter into strategic alliances and to acquire other businesses and successfully integrate them with our business; our ability to comply with new and existing laws, rules and regulations both domestically and internationally; our ability to maintain effective compliance and risk management methods; the strain of growth initiatives on management and other resources; our future capital needs and our ability to obtain capital when needed; limitations on our operating flexibility contained in our credit agreement; and other factors. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. More information about these and other factors affecting MarketAxess’ business and prospects is contained in MarketAxess’ periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and can be accessed at www.marketaxess.com.

Media and Investor Relations Contacts:

David Cresci William McBride
MarketAxess Holdings Inc. RF|Binder
+1-212-813-6027 +1-917-239-6726
   
Kyle White  
MarketAxess Holdings Inc.  
+1-212-813-6355  

 

MarketAxess Holdings Inc. 
Consolidated Statements of Operations 
                               
           
  Three Months Ended     Year Ended  
  December 31,     December 31,  
  2019     2018     2019     2018  
                       
  (In thousands, except per share data)  
  (unaudited)  
                               
Revenues                              
Commissions $ 117,103     $ 101,436     $ 463,856     $ 390,834  
Information services   8,515       7,057       30,730       28,227  
Post-trade services   3,923       3,675       15,763       15,346  
Other   233       276       1,003       1,158  
Total revenues   129,774       112,444       511,352       435,565  
                               
Expenses                              
Employee compensation and benefits   33,117       27,802       131,079       109,117  
Depreciation and amortization   7,730       5,848       26,857       23,080  
Technology and communications   7,155       6,415       26,792       23,866  
Professional and consulting fees   6,389       5,353       25,534       21,521  
Occupancy   3,090       3,844       11,639       14,176  
Marketing and advertising   3,087       3,534       11,559       12,114  
Clearing costs   3,345       2,257       11,314       7,754  
General and administrative   5,010       3,426       15,696       11,353  
Total expenses   68,923       58,479       260,470       222,981  
Operating income   60,851       53,965       250,882       212,584  
Other income (expense)                              
Investment income   1,767       1,926       8,063       6,112  
Other, net   (661 )     175       (1,521 )     (610 )
Total other income   1,106       2,101       6,542       5,502  
Income before income taxes   61,957       56,066       257,424       218,086  
Provision for income taxes   11,684       10,235       52,522       45,234  
Net income $ 50,273     $ 45,831     $ 204,902     $ 172,852  
                               
                               
Per Share Data:                              
Net income per common share                              
Basic $ 1.35     $ 1.24     $ 5.53     $ 4.68  
Diluted $ 1.32     $ 1.21     $ 5.4     $ 4.57  
                               
Cash dividends declared per common share $ 0.51     $ 0.42     $ 2.04     $ 1.68  
                               
Weighted-average common shares:                              
Basic   37,176       36,978       37,083       36,958  
Diluted   38,091       37,845       37,956       37,855  

 

 

MarketAxess Holdings Inc. 
Commission Revenue Details 
                               
                               
  Three Months Ended     Year Ended  
  December 31,     December 31,  
  2019     2018     2019     2018  
                               
  Total Commissions Revenue  
  (In thousands)  
  (unaudited)  
                               
Transaction Fees                              
U.S. high-grade $ 43,120     $ 37,089     $ 173,944     $ 144,642  
Other credit 1   45,238       38,868       188,514       147,148  
Total credit   88,358       75,957       362,458       291,790  
Rates 2   2,983       593       4,722       2,146  
Total transaction fees   91,341       76,550       367,180       293,936  
                               
Distribution Fees                              
U.S. high-grade   18,647       18,615       71,885       72,135  
Other credit1   7,029       6,110       24,347       24,077  
Total credit   25,676       24,725       96,232       96,212  
Rates2   86       161       444       686  
Total distribution fees   25,762       24,886       96,676       96,898  
Total commissions $ 117,103     $ 101,436     $ 463,856     $ 390,834  
                               
                               
  Average Variable Transaction Fee Per Million  
  (unaudited)  
                               
U.S. high-grade - fixed-rate $ 177.27     $ 160.52     $ 171.06     $ 160.63  
U.S. high-grade - floating-rate   53.64       69.53       63.15       87.22  
Total U.S. high-grade   170.36       154.12       164.44       155.84  
Other credit 1   191.36       207.55       193.45       201.05  
Total credit   180.5       177.5       178.35       175.77  
                               
Rates2   4.81       41.34       7.16       40.13  
                               
                               
1 Other credit includes high-yield, emerging markets, Eurobonds and municipal bonds.  
2 Rates includes U.S. Government bonds, agencies and other government bonds.  
       

 

 

MarketAxess Holdings Inc. 
Consolidated Condensed Balance Sheet Data 
               
               
  As of  
  December 31, 2019     December 31, 2018  
           
  (In thousands)  
  (unaudited)  
               
Assets              
Cash and cash equivalents $ 270,124     $ 246,322  
Investments, at fair value   230,477       240,105  
Accounts receivable, net   62,017       57,535  
Goodwill and intangible assets, net   207,846       62,675  
Furniture, equipment, leasehold improvements and capitalized software, net   71,795       63,010  
Operating lease right-of-use assets   81,399        
Prepaid expenses and other assets   30,771       22,468  
Deferred tax assets, net   501       3,424  
Total assets $ 954,930     $ 695,539  
               
Liabilities and stockholders' equity              
Liabilities              
Accrued employee compensation $ 47,365     $ 39,053  
Income and other tax liabilities   16,690       16,432  
Deferred revenue   3,499       2,810  
Accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities   19,294       29,366  
Operating lease liabilities   97,991        
Total liabilities   184,839       87,661  
               
Stockholders' equity              
Common stock   122       122  
Additional paid-in capital   342,541       341,860  
Treasury stock   (153,388 )     (184,962 )
Retained earnings   591,086       463,252  
Accumulated other comprehensive loss   (10,270 )     (12,394 )
Total stockholders' equity   770,091       607,878  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 954,930     $ 695,539  

 

 

MarketAxess Holdings Inc. 
Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures 
                               
                               
  Three Months Ended     Year Ended  
  December 31,     December 31,  
  2019     2018     2019     2018  
                               
  Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization  
  (In thousands)  
  (unaudited)  
Net income $ 50,273     $ 45,831     $ 204,902     $ 172,852  
Add back:                              
Interest expense                      
Provision for income taxes   11,684       10,235       52,522       45,234  
Depreciation and amortization   7,730       5,848       26,857       23,080  
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization $ 69,687     $ 61,914     $ 284,281     $ 241,166  
                               
  Free Cash Flow  
  (In thousands)  
  (unaudited)  
Cash flows from operating activities $ 89,141     $ 70,105     $ 265,935     $ 223,917  
Exclude: Net change in trading investments   (4,416 )     5,815       (4,045 )     (856 )
Less: Purchases of furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements   (3,609 )     (12,067 )     (12,292 )     (35,888 )
Less: Capitalization of software development costs   (8,545 )     (2,534 )     (22,408 )     (11,705 )
Free cash flow $ 72,571     $ 61,319     $ 227,190     $ 175,468  

 

 

MarketAxess Holdings Inc. 
Volume Statistics* 
                               
                               
  Three Months Ended      Year Ended   
  December 31,      December 31,   
  2019     2018     2019     2018  
                               
  Total Trading Volume  
  (In millions)  
  (unaudited)  
                               
U.S. high-grade - fixed-rate $ 238,959     $ 223,737     $ 992,844     $ 867,518  
U.S. high-grade - floating-rate   14,150       16,915       64,980       60,654  
Total U.S. high-grade   253,109       240,652       1,057,824       928,172  
Other credit   236,403       187,274       974,494       731,888  
Total credit   489,512       427,926       2,032,318       1,660,060  
                               
Rates   620,437       14,345       659,548       53,479  
                               
  Average Daily Volume  
  (In millions)  
  (unaudited)  
U.S. high-grade $ 4,082     $ 3,945     $ 4,231     $ 3,728  
Other credit   3,783       3,037       3,886       2,929  
Total credit   7,865       6,982       8,117       6,657  
                               
Rates   10,007       234       2,638       214  
                               
Number of U.S. Trading Days 1   62       61       250       249  
Number of U.K. Trading Days 2   64       64       253       253  
                               
                               
   
1 The number of U.S. trading days is based on the SIFMA holiday recommendation calendar.  
2 The number of U.K. trading days is based on the U.K. Bank holiday schedule.  
                               
*Consistent with FINRA TRACE reporting standards, both sides of trades are included in the Company's reported volumes when the Company executes trades on a matched principal basis between two counterparties. Consistent with industry standards, U.S. Government Bond trades are single-counted.  
                               
   

 

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Source: MarketAxess Holdings, Inc.